First get yourself one of that cool spin down life counter dice from the Graveborn set.  You will need it for this badassery. This deck seems low power at first, but if you keep at it you won’t lose, and shouldn’t have to worry about late game spells and creatures, as this deck should win by early to early mid game.

Second I should provide a link for the looking up of stuff. More specifically for looking up the cards I am about to mention. Favorite that addy and have it tabbed while you browse this.

I also suggest you get yourself a forty of Mickey’s, or a mini-keg of Grolsch, for when you play this. Chelada’s are also great for a night of MTG with a buddy. Snacks are not a good idea as you are going to be doing a lot with this deck. Therefore, some booz for a quick drink now and then is best.

The deck is primarily black, but has four blue critters. It uses, mostly, older cards. The “Graveborn” deck was more concentrated on discarding and graveyard recursion; it should have been called back from the grave. This deck concentrates on putting stuff into your graveyard and letting the creature’s own abilities bring them back fast and cheap. Free in most cases. From the grave you shall berth an army.

Lands (20):

  • Dakmor Salvage x 4 (dredge – fill grave, anti land destruction)
  • Crystal Vein x 4 (speed)
  • Swamp x 12

Creatures (20):

  • Gravecrawler x 4 (2/1 1st turn critter)
  • Nether Traitor x 4
  • Nether Shadow x 4
  • Bloodghast x 4
  • Ashen Ghoul x 4


  • Entomb x 4 (fill grave)
  • Buried Alive x 4 (fill grave)
  • Last Rites x 4 (control your opponent)
  • Dark Ritual x 4 (speed)
  • Chalner’s Edict x 4 (creature destruction)


  • Narcomoeba x 4 critter (the blue guy, sideboard it incase you need more speed)
  • Hidden Horror x 4 critter (sideboard it for its power, and for getting your creatures from your hand into your graveyard)
  • Distress x 3 spell (sideboard for control on you opponent)
  • One with Nothing x 4 spell (by suggestion of Mister Morn)

Playing The Deck:

This deck is all about getting your creatures into your graveyard as fast as possible. From there they do the work for you and pop back into play. None of the creatures are very big; however you will have a swarm, of mostly bigger than 1/1 creatures every turn after the first, or second turn.

You should be able to stay ahead of you opponent at all times. Attack en-mass. If you block consider blocking with more than one creature. After all your creatures will be right back on your next turn, theirs will not.

Chainer’s Edict (which has flashback for late game creature removal) and Last Rites will allow you to get rid of your opponents creatures, so that you can press the assault. Dark ritual will speed things up, so that your opponent is left in the dust. Entomb and Buried alive are your most important spells, as they fill your graveyard fast.

Dakmor Salvage helps against land destruction decks. It dredges to fill your graveyard. It doesn’t come into play tapped so you are not slowed by it. Finally it has a neat trick for getting a creature you drew into your graveyard; just dredge all of your Drakmor Salvages to take your hand above seven cards, this lets you just discards those critters straight to your graveyard at the end of your turn. The crystal vein gives you one colorless or two if you sacrifice it, this makes your deck speed up a bit when it really needs that little extra boost, and since it doesn’t come into play tapped it is not going to slow you down, like a lot of non-basic lands.

The sideboard has cards that allow you to control what you opponent can and can’t do (Distress). It also, gives you a little more speed. The Narcomoeba goes straight to the battlefield when you entomb, or buried alive it.

The Hidden Horror prevents those pesky back ups of the decks flow when you have a creature in your hand instead of your graveyard. Plus his power and low-cost will give you something to make your opponent panick, I suggest saving him for a blocker as at 4/4 he can take care of most early and mid game creatures. With a dark ritual, you can have that hidden horror out on first turn (and a creature in your graveyard) paving the way for a win.

One with Nothing gives you a little Zen moment when you have a hand full of critters. Drop a land and then dump those critters into the graveyard to set things off on turn one. A huge speed boost in this sideboard card. (Someone should make a haiku for me to insert here).

There is the full 60 card deck and 15 card sideboard.

The Official “Graveborn Deck” was not what it should have been. I did get a copy and here is what I have done with my copy. It is closer to what it should have been.

Lands (20):

  • Swamp x 14
  • Polluted Mire x 2
  • Ebon Stronghold x 2
  • Crystal Vein x 2

Creatures (16):

  • Sheoldred, Whispering One x 1 (Does what the deck is all about)
  • Teneb, The Harvester x 1 (A much better themed fit than Crosis)
  • Chancellor of the Dross  x 1 (Lifelink, and opening hand benefits)
  • Visara the Dreadful  x 1 (Creature Destruction)
  • Scion of Darkness x 2 (Cycle and does what the deck is all about)
  • Rune-Scarred Demon x 4 (Gets you what you need)
  • Avatar of Woe x 2 (Creature Destruction)
  • Putrid Imp x 4 (All about, and only used for, Getting creatures from hand to graveyard)

Spells (24):

  • Entomb x 2 (For those not so fresh empty hands)
  • Buried Alive x 4 (For those embarassing moments when the graveyard just wont perform)
  • Reanimate x 2 (When you need that early game sheoldred fix. Better consider Chancellor if you use the second one)
  • Animate Dead x 4 (The classic back for more retrival card)
  • Exhume x 4 (when you want to give your enemy a fighting chance)
  • Dread Return x 4 (A solid card for this deck, with flashback)
  • Diabolic Servitude x 4 (A bit wordy, but works)


  • Cabal Therapy x 3 spell (Rockin artwork)
  • Sickening Dreams x 4 spell
  • Last Rites x 4 spell
  • Crosis, the Purger x 1 critter (To limit your enemy’s options and get more into their graveyard for you to bring back)
  • Avatar of Woe x 1  critter (incase the other 2 are not enough)
  • Scion of Darkness x 2 critter  (when you really want to gut punch them)

Playing The Deck:

An imp in the opening hand is heavily needed. Entomb and buried alive can do the trick in the imps absence. You only need two land to get this deck running well, so a one land hand isn’t a death sentence and you don’t want more than three in your opening hand.

Do whatever it takes to get Sheoldred out fast. From there Teneb or a Scion will have things working as they should and the deck playing itself. Rune-Scars will get you to speed things up and chancellor will fix that life total of yours if you found yourself playing reanimate. With my take on Graveborn your enemy is giving you a helping hand. Why settle for your own graveyard when you can use both. Sheol, Vis, Avats all help you keep your opponent’s grave full of critter options for Graveborn’s unique take on summoning.

My sideboard is mostly for show. Never really use it. The critters give you more of what you need and the spells help you control your opponent by limiting their options. Take away their best spell options to stop you, or put their best critter where it can easily be accessed by your Graveborn.

If you really want to lose some friends consider adding “Iona, Shield of Emeria” x 1 critter. This Zendikar Angel will shut down mono colored decks. A solid first creature from the grave play. She is also a large flyer. She is mythic rare for a reason.

4 copies of Twisted Abomination are also worth considering. Swamp cycling, regenerating, high power creatures with enough toughness to withstand the early game. Cycling in this deck is great for dumping a large creature in your graveyard and drawing a spell to play it. Land cycling speeds things up in this already fast deck by getting the swamps into your hand so you are more likely to draw something you really need. A good start if you are considering this card is to take out one copy of ‘Sickening Dreams’ and one copy of ‘Last Rites’ from your sideboard and put in two of this card to kind of test it out.

Other than the Scions; you should be able to get this deck in all foils. My Scions and Teneb are not foil. It feels a bit off whenever I play those particular cards with this deck.